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Education Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 213429, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/213429
Research Article

A Survey on the Permanence of Finnish Students’ Arithmetical Skills and the Role of Motivation

1School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 86, 57101 Savonlinna, Finland
2School of Information Sciences, University of Tampere, 33014 Tampere, Finland

Received 24 November 2014; Accepted 30 December 2014

Academic Editor: Gwo-Jen Hwang

Copyright © 2015 Timo Tossavainen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This study concerns the permanence of the basic arithmetical skills of Finnish students by investigating how a group () of the eighth and eleventh year students and the university students of humanities perform in problems that are slightly modified versions of certain PISA 2003 mathematics test items. The investigation also aimed at finding out what the impact of motivation-related constructs, for example, students’ achievement goal orientations, is and what their perceived competence beliefs and task value on their performance in mathematics are. According to our findings, the younger students’ arithmetical skills have declined through the course of ten years but the older students’ skills have become generic to a greater extent. Further, three motivational clusters could be identified accounting for 7.5 per cent of students’ performance in the given assignments. These results are compatible with the outcomes of the recent assessments of the Finnish students’ mathematical skills and support the previous research on the benefits of learning orientation combined with the high expectation of success and the valuing of mathematics learning.